Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reconnecting with my "Doktormutter"

I get many phone calls at work, but yesterday afternoon I got a call that was at once most surprising and at the same time most pleasurable. Who was on the line but my dear "Doktormutter" Ewa Czaykowska! (I love the German term "Doktorvater", which hints at a connection between supervisor and supervisee that is totally lacking in the cold English term "doctoral supervisor", but to use the term with respect to Ewa would do violence to her identity as a woman so I prefer the term "Doktormutter".) Now I must confess that I have not been in contact with Ewa since giving up hope of ever getting a permanent university position some four years ago - I may be wrong (and today's chat with Ewa has strenghtened this doubt), but in the back of my mind there is a nagging thought that Ewa must be at least a little disappointed that her first sucessful doctoral candidate has failed to find a position appropriate to his education and her efforts have been for naught - but I have kept going to the conferences of the Canadian Linguistic Association, and at this spring's CLA meeting in Vancouver I saw Leslie Saxon, my former syntax prof and Ewa's colleague at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Victoria, and gave her my business card. So when a publisher recently wrote to Ewa enquiring about the possibility of publishing my dissertation (a possiblity I had never seriously entertained until now) she was able to get my work number from Leslie and call me.

Although the purpose of Ewa's call was to find an email address to which she could forward the message from the publisher (she could have found it on the web page "E-mail addresses of Canadian Linguists", but I am glad she found it by calling me), we also had a nice chat about our respective families, about some common acquantainces now infirm, and about my situation here in Calgary. I mentioned my recent visit to Victoria, found out that not visiting UVic two weeks ago was no loss (it was reading break) and promised to connect when I next come to Victoria. In all, talking with Ewa was a very uplifting experience and has strengthened my resolve to complete the modifications to the digital copy of my dissertation so that it can be shared as a pdf file, to finish off my Esperanto translation of the Lushootseed Reader, and to attend next summer's International Conference on Salish and Neighbouring Languages: in 2009 it will have priority over Canadian Yearly Meeting in session!

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